Masterton is back as the mecca of shearing with more than 370 shearers, wool handlers and wool pressers set for the three-day Golden Shears from tomorrow. The international competition is finally back after two years of cancellations due to Covid restrictions. The Shears celebrated 60 years in 2020, just sneaking in as one of the last major events of the year before the first Covid-19 lockdown. This year 22 titles across shearing and wool handling will be contested at the Masterton War Memorial Stadium, which becomes a woolshed for the event and has done since its inception in 1961. Often referred to as shearing’s Wimbledon the 370 competitors come from far and wide with at least 38 from the UK and 37 from Australia. The TAB has made defending champion Hawke’s Bay shearer Rowland Smith and Motueka-based wool handler Joel Henare, favourites to win their respective titles. Apart from the kudos the winner of the open shearing final gets a place in the New Zealand team for the World Championships, as will the first two winners in a wool handling selection series final.